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What Happened with HAMP? Continued




Earlier this month, I wrote about a dispute over the history of HAMP, the Home Affordable Modification Program. This was the program supposedly designed to help homeowners who were in over the heads.


A couple of those who participated in the early Obama administration, notably including Neil Barofsky, portrayed here in full smile, have since said that Geithner administered the plan in an openly cynical bankers'-ass-protecting spirit.


At the time I last wrote about this, Geithner's own view of the incident was known only through bits and pieces, such as his quote to an interviewed from The New York Times that I cited in that blog post.


Since then, Geithner has come out with his own book on his tenure as Secretary of the Treasury. Does this shed any light?


Fortunately, amazon allows me to read inside Geithner;'s book at will, so I don't actually have to buy the thing to see what he said about HAMP.




He portrays himself as a faithful public servant who would have loved to have helped more homeowners through HAMP, but alas couldn't do so without being an inadequate steward of the public purse, etc.


That is what one would expect.


There is also this ad hominem dig: "There was a new spasm of outrage in July [2009] when the special inspector general for TARP, a former prosecutor named Neil Barofsky, released a report proclaiming that the government's crisis interventions had exposed taxpayers to $23.7 trillion in potential losses....Oversight is vital, especially when vast sums of taxpayer dollars are at stake, and skepticism is in order when the government floats cash to well-connected private firms. But Barofsky's desire to prevent perfidy was untainted by financial knowledge or experience. He assumed our motives were self-evidently sinister, as if we had helped banks for fun and profit rather than to cure a metastasizing financial crisis."


That isn't directly about the HAMP question. But I do suspect that Geithner's need to undermine what Barofsky has said about Geithner's construal of HAMP as a pro-bank runway-foaming scheme justified this slam much more than the actual TARP reference did or could.
Geithner engages in the neat ad hominem trick of accusing the accuser of using ad hominems -- "he assumed our motives were sinister...."
He gives no evidence Barofsky assumed any such thing in the TARP context which he is purportedly addressing here. In the HAMP context, the sinister nature of Geithner's motives is more of an inference than an assumption, an inference with which Geithner evidently doesn't want to contend directly.

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